By on August 11, 2009

“Nissan Leaf = 367 mpg, no tailpipe, and no gas required. Oh yeah, and it’ll be affordable too!”

NissanEV shoots back at the latest Volt hype on Twitter, using the same DOE estimate as GM. That hit from the PR crackpipe sure didn’t last long.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

38 Comments on “Quote of the Day: Steal a Little Thunder Edition...”


  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    Considering the fact that the scientifically illiterate congress critters have done nothing to improve the power generation and distribution networks in the last N years (where N is a large number), the electric car fad (neat as it is) won’t go far.

    Thanks, politicians. Shoulda taken some elementary math and science as asides to your normal marshmallow brain academic majors.

  • avatar
    Lokkii

    Is it me or did Nissan steal that rear hatch shape from the rear window/hatch of GM’s Bare Necessity-mobile?

  • avatar
    srogers

    No, Renault had this hatch shape thing going a while ago.

  • avatar
    Brauron

    Da Coyote, don’t blame “the politicians” for failing to improve the generation and power grid. Blame we Americans for engaging in the usual NIMBY fights against running more high-tension corridors through our neighborhoods.

    Want better, more scientifically literate leaders? Vote for them.

  • avatar
    CyCarConsulting

    I’m not seeing anyone address the effects of EMF on the occupants from this fully electric power train. The telecom industry has suppressed the damage to DNA, and the formation of cancer cells from over exposure to cell towers, and cell phones. The same types of dangers are lurking in these pseudo electric vehicles, and without any policing, could go unchecked. One of the more common immediate effects from over exposure to EMF is drowsiness. HELLO! anyone home?

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    Brauron…I do vote – albeit the pickings are pretty awful. That doesn’t change the situation.

    We’ve not got the infrastructure required to support electrics. Period. I eagerly await the debacle with the CA attempts to go electric. They can barely handle the summer loads now.

  • avatar
    gordonjs

    I don’t think it steals any thunder or undermines the Volt in any way. It’s obvious that an all electric car is going to get better theoretical MPG’s than an extended range electric, however, a vehicle with a 100 mile total range between charges is still the large limiting factor. It limits the market. And while it may be ‘affordable’, that doesn’t factor in the idea that the majority of owners would need a second vehicle. Once you factor in the cost of a vehicle for going over 100 miles, you’ve lost that cost savings completely.

    And I don’t think that my situation is a unique one. I can use a Volt as my primary and only vehicle, I couldn’t use the Leaf as that, and neither could a lot of people. While I don’t drive over 100 miles on a daily basis, I do frequently put 100+ miles on a vehicle per day.

  • avatar
    wsn

    CyCarConsulting :
    August 11th, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    I’m not seeing anyone address the effects of EMF on the occupants from this fully electric power train.

    ——————————————–

    I am not sure what you mean. EMF, what EMF?

    This is not a high frequency wireless system. Whatever EMW the coil emits, should have been shielded by the metal shell of the car anyway.

    I had my bachelor’s in EE.

  • avatar
    wsn

    # gordonjs :
    August 11th, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    I can use a Volt as my primary and only vehicle, I couldn’t use the Leaf as that, and neither could a lot of people.

    ———————————————–

    “A lot of people” cannot afford a $40k car. Period.

  • avatar
    spyspeed

    …and it doesn’t look like a 1990 Lumina!

  • avatar
    Dr. Remulac

    Oh boy. A can of worms has been opened up with this new DOE mileage rating for EV’s.

    GM Volt probably will get 50 equivalent mpg, but can say 230. Nissan Leaf probably will get 60 mpg but can say 367.

    I love the new math.

  • avatar
    davejay

    You know what?

    I live in California. My family has two cars and a scooter. I use the scooter to commute (four miles each way), I use one car to bring the kids to school and back (six miles each way) or run errands with the kids if my wife has the other car, and the other car is what my wife uses and we take on longer trips.

    In CA, air quality is a very real issue. Let’s say they make this car available for under $25,000, and it’s comparably equipped to my Versa SL (which was $17,000.) I would *absolutely* buy this car, without question and without hesitation.

    I have 220V in my garage already, from a dryer that isn’t there any more; my driving needs would only require one charge every five days or so (although I’d keep it plugged in); the novelty of driving an electric would be enough to keep me off my scooter 9 days out of 10.

    Overall, I’d spend a little more (around what a Mini Cooper costs), but I’d have no gasoline cost, would have one less car and almost one less scooter contributing to the bad air quality, and the novelty of driving an electric around. Plus, it’s cute.

    This is the first electric car I have ever been able to say this about: not only COULD I buy it, but I WOULD buy it, and if the price point is under $25,000, I WILL buy it.

    And, in a place like CA where air quality is a real issue and most families have *at least* two cars, this would be a real boon.

    One more thing: if the infrastructure can’t support everyone on an EV yet, that’s okay, because initial adoption will be low. Over time, as capacities are reached, the extra electricity usage that’s causing the capacity to be reached will be additional dollars that can be used to finance infrastructure improvements. EVs could end up being the catalyst (and financier) for major improvements in the grid. Besides, what if everyone went solar? Solar won’t power your car, so an alternative to infrastructure improvements could be using the extra dollars to finance solar installations on homes — removing some of that power draw from the grid to help make up for the additional EVs.

  • avatar
    frank rizzo

    I really look forward to seeing many a Leaf out of juice and causing havoc in many a Cali traffic jam. I’m sure all the PR-Thunder-Stealing will be worth it while forking over bread to get your foliage towed to the nearest charging station. Sadly, no tax credit available for the towing expense, or lost productivity. What is the MPG of a GMC tow-truck hauling a Leaf?

  • avatar
    twotone

    “I’m not seeing anyone address the effects of EMF on the occupants from this fully electric power train. The telecom industry has suppressed the damage to DNA, and the formation of cancer cells from over exposure to cell towers, and cell phones. The same types of dangers are lurking in these pseudo electric vehicles, and without any policing, could go unchecked. One of the more common immediate effects from over exposure to EMF is drowsiness. HELLO! anyone home?”

    Electric cars are DC — EMF requires AC. Everything you listed above is alternating current.

    Twotone

  • avatar
    mjal

    CyCarConsulting:
    Where are you getting your facts from on cell phones and cell towers? Are you aware that common household items such as a refrigerator or baby monitor emit far greater EMF exposure to a household than a nearby cell tower. In fact, a typical cell tower with multiple carriers emits less than 1% of the permitted FCC exposure limits to neighboring homes. If you’re so worried about DNA altering radiation, you should worry more about sun exposure than non-ionizing sources such as electric cars.

  • avatar
    nearprairie

    That car looks like a set piece from Woody Allens “Sleeper.”

  • avatar
    thingsabove

    The car does have a relatively large DC motor… By far the most common DC motor types are the brushed and brushless types, which use internal and external commutation respectively to create an oscillating AC current from the DC source—so they are not purely DC machines in a strict sense.

    But it’s good to spread FUD.

    I’d be more concerned about potential runaway thermal reactions in the big lithium ion battery packs. It’d be like a Pinto bomb x10. Maybe they’ll use magnesium in the chassis for extra thermal excitement.

    Oh… and the grid thing is no biggie. Most of the charging will be performed off-peak at night. The Utilities will see to it that when these things start showing up in-mass that owners are on time of use rates with smart chargers that coordinate charging with the grid. A few companies are already piloting this in control groups.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    MPG ratings don’t mean much for the Leaf because it doesn’t use a ‘gallon’ of anything.

    I like the Leaf because it’s clear what it is – a straight-up electric car. But if it’s priced like the Volt, forget it.

  • avatar
    bfg9k

    frank rizzo :
    August 11th, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    I really look forward to seeing many a Leaf out of juice and causing havoc in many a Cali traffic jam. I’m sure all the PR-Thunder-Stealing will be worth it while forking over bread to get your foliage towed to the nearest charging station. Sadly, no tax credit available for the towing expense, or lost productivity. What is the MPG of a GMC tow-truck hauling a Leaf?

    What’s the MPG of a GMC tow-truck hauling a car with a regular gas engine? You think gas-powered cars never run out of gas or something?

    EV’s sitting in traffic will only be running accessories, making them much more energy efficient in stop-and-go than an ICE car.

  • avatar
    walksatnight

    If nothing else the Volt wins the name game.

    Volt conjurs up images of Tesla Coils discharging lightning with a powerful Zot!

    The Leaf conjurs up images of raking for hours every Autumn and not even being allowed the satisfaction of burning the buggers up.

    Advantage Chevy.

  • avatar
    frank rizzo

    What’s the MPG of a GMC tow-truck hauling a car with a regular gas engine? You think gas-powered cars never run out of gas or something?

    No. But it’s obviously more convenient and easier to fill up with petrol. Unless there is a large scale installation of charging stations, likely at gasoline stations, I see this being a problem. When your fuel light goes on while in an urban area, and if you’re not an idiot, you pull over and fill up the tank. Regardless whether you’re an idiot, if the fuel light goes on in an EV, you’d better hope that you’re close to a charging station. Plus, unless you have a 480 connection, you’ll be waiting hours to fill up the EV. People will try to push the range limits of the EV once they’re comfortable, and this will inevitably lead to a call to AAA for some.

    I just don’t think that the Leaf is a good idea. Most Americans can’t afford more than two cars, and unless there is a fundamental change in driving habits, I see the Leaf (and other EVs) as a niche success at best or more likely a short-term fad. Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems that consumers want flexibility, something a pure EV just doesn’t deliver. Say what you want about the Volt, its cost, or whatever, but pure EVs seem like a very bad idea for the masses, at least in the States.

  • avatar
    gordonjs

    “I’d be more concerned about potential runaway thermal reactions in the big lithium ion battery packs. It’d be like a Pinto bomb x10. Maybe they’ll use magnesium in the chassis for extra thermal excitement.”

    While thermal runaway is a valid concern, people seem to forget that they are sitting on 10+ gallons of gasoline most of the time, not exactly the worlds most gentle fluid.

    Also, unlike laptop batteries, you can be certain that the layers upon layers of redundant safety systems will prevent such an event from occurring. How often do you hear of airbags randomly going off, etc? It’s a lot easier to control a battery thermal event (from a controls standpoint) than a car that caught fire due to a gas leak…

  • avatar
    CyCarConsulting

    You guys need to get the facts on EMF,cell towers, cell phones,and the like. The suppressed research has proven you wrong. We drove the cell towers out of our neighborhood with facts and not myths. Glendale has implemented a moritorium on cell towers, and the LA board of supervisors defeated a cell tower permit request 5-0, in our city, and is looking in to changing the law passed allowing the health risks to be a non issue in law suits.
    I am not going to sit back and just let big corporations do whatever they want to innocent people, especially with new technology in cars.

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    @frank rizzo: the Leaf will initially be available stateside in just a few markets slated to have the 480V-ish (30min recharge time) infrastructure: TN, OR, San Diego, Seattle, and Tuscon-Phoenix. eTec will be receiving $100m from DOE and almost $200m in matching funds from other regional donors.

    Similar to GM’s EV1 a decade ago, potential customers will be screened for, uh, suitability. (The EV1 was initially available only where the 220V infrastructure was available, Tuscon-Phoenix and LA.) You’re not going to qualify unless you’ve got extraordinarly good credit, live a few miles from a high-voltage outlet, bright eyed & bushy tailed about environmental causes, and not written unfavorably about Carlos Ghosn anywhere on the Web, etc.

    I hope not to be in the market for a car for several years, but the thought of an EV as a commuter vehicle to complement the minivans has crossed my mind. Like others here, our house has a garage and a 220V plug, and the commute is a very predictable 20 mile round trip.

  • avatar
    folkdancer

    Are we sure the electric motors in the Prius, Volt, Tesla, and Leaf are DC?

    There are many advantages and disadvantages to AC and DC motors. In general DC motors are used in bikes and golf carts but the people here in Phoenix converting regular cars to electric power are using AC motors.

    The converters and controllers to use AC motors can run over $2,000 but the advantages to using an AC motor in bigger vehicles seem to outweigh the disadvantages in cost for the converters.

    We need electric engineers to weigh in here with more knowledge about the pluses and minuses and someone with knowledge about the actual motors being used in these vehicles.

  • avatar
    mcs

    If nothing else the Volt wins the name game.

    Vega was a good name before GM put it on a car.

  • avatar
    frank rizzo

    Hey, fair enough about the infrastructure funding and the regional roll-out of the Leaf. All smart coordination decisions on the part of Nissan. These markets might be willing to foot the $35,000 cost (upper bound – seems to be TTAC convention).

    However, I’m still really skeptical about 10% of the market for pure EVs by 2020 (link). Perhaps I’m wrong, but I’d bet that either cellulosic ethanol or some degree of hydrogen distribution via electrolysis cuts into that market within the next 10 years. And both options provide a much more convenient, quicker, and more importantly, infrequent refueling requirement when compared to a pure EV.

  • avatar
    d002

    Mobile phones and phone towers have high frequency radiation, which can enter the body’s cells and interfere with the cell nucleus.

    Electric motors have low frequency radiation, which just bounces off your skin. No risk.
    Of course that doesn’t mean the rectifier and the inverter don’t emit HF radiation, but that small amount will be attenuated down to background level and blocked by the firewall.

    The Leaf and the Volt both have AC motors, which are more efficient than DC motors (and safer, btw).

    Three phase voltage is not exotic, every industrial area and many residential areas have it available. If you have overhead wire cables in your area, check the number of wires carried ; if there’s three, then you can get three phase.

  • avatar
    niky

    So do microwave ovens… step down transformers for electricity… television sets (cathode ray tubes)… computers (dear Lord… turn yours off… now!)

    There is no evidence of carcinogenic effects due to microwaves. The only case wherein a cellphone was linked to cancer was back in the 80’s… when they had cellphone transmitters so powerful they could cause feedback in radios at twenty paces. And that person used their old Motorola nearly 24-7. And it’s still disputable whether or not the cellphone was the cause.

    Current Cell towers are smaller and more closely spaced than previous ones… and current cellphones use less powerful transmitters and antennas. The overall radiation level is much lower

    Scientific studies using microwave levels high enough to cause heat build-up in animal tissues have revealed no carcinogenic effects. In other words, you’re not going to get cancer from sticking your hand in a microwave oven. You’re more likely to get cancer from the sun than from a cellphone.

    Or an electric car… which doesn’t even transmit enough RF to cause static on its own radio.

    But if it’s still a concern, I have a gold-leaf stick-on radio-frequency neutralizer you can stick to your car. Latest technology from China. I’m selling them for $100 a piece, plus shipping.

    At the very least, it’ll prevent your electric car from causing an explosion at the gas station when you start it up…. wait… you don’t bring E-cars to the gas station? Rats.

    Slightly on-topic… I was actually discussing this with a friend… woe betide GM when Nissan takes a look at their numbers and realizes they can do even better with the Leaf, since it doesn’t have a gasoline engine at all…

  • avatar
    jmo

    Most Americans can’t afford more than two cars, and unless there is a fundamental change in driving habits,

    The average US driver drives 29 miles a day. If the husband has a Leaf and the wife had a Seinna – when would the need for extra range ever really come up?

  • avatar
    Chicago Dude

    I worked for a major telecom corporation for 5 years (you can probably guess who that would be based on the location in my user name). There is no way any of the people in the position to cover up damaging research would be able to pull it off. It’s a nut-job conspiracy theory. These people were so incompetent they turned the #1 cell phone company into an industry laughing stock. They didn’t know good market research from bad market research, taught Apple how to build a cell phone while totally getting screwed on the “co-developed” product, and never quite figured out what made their accidental gigantic success a gigantic success. But they had no problem covering up damaging research reports. HAHAHAHAHAHA!

    And by the way, moving from a lifestyle that includes a lot of exercise and movement to one that involves a lot of sitting on the couch watching TV and surfing the internet has a very noticeable side effect. Drowsiness. HMMMMMMM.

    PS – I spent a lot of time working in the labs dealing with cell phone tower transmitters in close proximity. I have seen first hand what happens when absent-minded engineers accidentally bring up a transmitter at full power without any signal attenuation. Drowsiness isn’t it. In fact, I doubt you could sleep without powerful narcotics. But the science of EMF is well-understood and natural signal attenuation is as well. You need to be extremely close to the point of transmission to feel any adverse effects.

    Until one of these “research studies” is actually submitted to a peer-reviewed scientific journal, they are nothing more than scare-mongering garbage.

  • avatar
    merlynbrit

    coal plants provide 57% of the electricity generated in this country. am i the only one that smirks a bit when these tree hugging “greener-than-thou” types want electric vehicles to save the environment?

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    @ merlynbrit :

    coal plants provide 57% of the electricity generated in this country. am i the only one that smirks a bit when these tree hugging “greener-than-thou” types want electric vehicles to save the environment?

    There are thousands (millions?) of people that don’t understand energy economics or carbon accounting, so you wouldn’t be an island.

  • avatar
    folkdancer

    coal plants provide 57% of the electricity generated in this country. am i the only one that smirks a bit when these tree hugging “greener-than-thou” types want electric vehicles to save the environment?

    There are thousands (millions?) of people that don’t understand energy economics or carbon accounting, so you wouldn’t be an island.

    The second comment is very true. Here is something the first poster is unaware of:

    Electric generating plants are very big. They can’t be turned on and off or even quickly adjusted when their customers need more power consequently the power plant has to work almost 100% of the time for what is expected the peak load will be for that time of year.

    BUT we customers use much less power at night than we do during the day and that is why our rates go down at night. The power companies want to encourage us to use power at night and not use power during the day.

    If we start charging batteries at night we are helping the power companies even out their loads and making them more efficient.

    I am sure your local tree hugging, greener than thou, weenie will be happy to bring you up to date on other benefits to electric cars.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    GM’s PR victory is likely to be Pyrrhic.

    When GM announced the Volt, Toyota was probably happy to let GM have it’s day “leapfrogging” Toyota with a car that was ridiculously uneconomic.

    However, the unexpected complete distortion of the EPA process has likely awakened a sense of alarm at Toyota HQ and the prospect of a Volt with an EPA rating (however meaningless) of 4X the Prius is something that they probably won’t tolerate. I predict they will announce something.

    This was achieved locally, using a Prius, by a group of students with a small grant:
    170MPG Prius

    That’s just the talented kids. Imagine what Toyota’s best people can do when they are really motivated to kick GM’s butt on the 230mpg number.

    GM is going to rue the day they cooked the test.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    folkdancer,

    You are exactly right. There is plenty of power off-peak and the incremental CO2 footprint of charging at leat the first big wave of xEVs is likely to be relatively small.

  • avatar
    Dr. Remulac

    @folkdancer and kixstart

    folkdancer’s simplification is a little too oversimplified. There are spinning reserves that consume fuel and can be ramped up quick enough to meet fluctuating demand, however, they consume fuel while “idle” but they are not fully loaded and don’t consume 100% of their rated input while spinning idle.

    It is true that flattening the daily electric demand curve is desirable.

    But merlynbrit has a point, 57% of the countries power generation is coal driven. These cars consume electricity from the grid, the grid is on average 30% efficient. Therefore about 3 times more energy was consumed at the plant for what goes into these cars batteries. It is reasonable to assume a good portion of the electric vehicles consumption will result in increased consumption and pollution at coal plants.

    It may not be a one to one relationship for reasons stated above, but increased load at night is increased fuel consumption by the generators.

    Liking these technologies (as I do) should not give us a license to skew all facts in their favor.

  • avatar
    Buick61

    I don’t see how this steals any thunder. The ratings are ridiculously high for both, and the Leaf’s takes nothing away from the Volt’s. The Volt takes a hit because it offers an extended range, which I think is a well-meaning and useful sacrifice.

    wsn :
    August 11th, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    # gordonjs :
    August 11th, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    I can use a Volt as my primary and only vehicle, I couldn’t use the Leaf as that, and neither could a lot of people.

    ———————————————–

    “A lot of people” cannot afford a $40k car. Period.

    “A lot of people” cannot afford the $25,000 – $33,000 estimated cost of the vaporware Leaf, either.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • mcs: @Garak: It would also be good for search and rescue. In a search, with a gas model, the noise could drown out...
  • Garak: I could see quite a few places where you’d might want an electric model. Countries with expensive gas,...
  • DungBeetle62: Don’t know whose apple my Dad polished but in the early 80s after a parade of awful Cutlasses...
  • JD-Shifty: lowest gas prices were under Clinton. But that’s none of my business. We’ve seen wild price...
  • Buickman: anyone notice AutoNews has eliminated their comment section?

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber